FCB Nyasa Big Bullets travel to Chiwembe for the TNM Super League clash against Bangwe All Stars at Mpira Stadium on Friday afternoon.
This will be Bullets’ third game away from home, having travelled to Lilongwe twice to play Silver Strikers and Extreme FC.
It will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides following Bangwe’s arrival in the Super League after their promotion from the Southern Region Football League Premier Division.
Playing in Chiwembe for the first time this season, it’s a change of scenery for The People’s Team after the last game at home against Moyale Barracks, winning 3-1 to extend our three-game winning streak last weekend.
Bullets have won one of the two away matches from home.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges gave away a first-half lead to draw 1-1 with Silver Strikers in the opening game of this new campaign at the Bingu National Stadium.
Then, in the third week, Maule were on the road again to Lilongwe, where they had to sweat for victory against another newly-promoted side, Extreme FC as Hassan Kajoke came in as a second-half substitute to score the only goal that earned us all the three points.
Bullets have had three wins out of the four matches played so far, scoring nine goals and conceding two.
The People’s Team head into this tie sitting top of the standings with ten points and a win against the fourth-placed Mabvuto Lungu’s side on Friday will see the defending champions maintaining the top position.
Second-placed Silver Strikers will not play a league game in this Matchweek 5 as their home fixture against Mighty Tigers on Saturday has been postponed. The Central Bankers will instead play Bullets in a ceremonial match in commemoration of Kamuzu Day at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday.
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, third in the standings, with the same number of points as Bullets and Silver but trailing the defending champions on goal difference, will be away to Moyale Barracks on Saturday.
Friday’s opponents, who moved from 12th position to fourth following their 2-1 win away to Karonga United last Sunday, are still in search of their first win at home, having collected just two points from the possible six. They have so far collected five points, scoring four goals and conceding three.
The rookies, who boast of youthful and experienced players, are expected to go into this match with high hopes of upsetting the defending champions, who are hard to beat regardless of the venue.
Bullets travel to Chiwembe without striker Hassan Kajoke who is not fit for selection after missing this week’s training following an injury he suffered during our 3-1 victory over Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium last Saturday.
But the good news is that Pasuwa has Richard Chimbamba available for selection as his current first-choice goalkeeper recovered on time after he was stretchered off during the same encounter.
Pasuwa is also happy to welcome back his vice-captain Precious Sambani, who is part of the matchday squad on Friday after missing the opening five competitive games of this season due to an injury.
There is no history yet to write between the two teams as Friday’s meeting will be their first ever.
How have we fared at Mpira Stadium?
The People’s Team has never lost any competitive game at Mpira Stadium. In the previous three seasons, Bullets have collected all the points.
Last season, Bullets collected full points after beating Mighty Tigers 2-0.
In the 2020/21 season, Bullets were 1-0 winners over Red Lions.
Our away record since last season
Out of 30 TNM Super League games, Bullets only lost once in the 2022 season, suffering a 1-0 defeat to Mafco, the first loss in 37 matches in all domestic competitions since the 2020/21 season.
Before the defeat away at Dedza Stadium, Pasuwa’s charges had not lost in their previous 25 League games last season, one of the longest unbeaten runs in Malawian football. Maule only drew with Blue Eagles, Karonga United and Silver Strikers
Our record against newly-promoted teams
In the last five seasons, Bullets only dropped points to newly-promoted sides in the 2019 season.
In the first round, Chitipa United fought back from a 2-0 down to force us to a 2-all draw at Kamuzu Stadium, a result that shocked many football fans as the home team was in total control of the match.
In the second round of the same season, Mlatho Mponela frustrated Pasuwa’s charges with a disappointing goalless draw at Civo Stadium.
Despite the two setbacks, Bullets went on to win the league with 70 points, a point above rivals Wanderers.
Last season, Bullets collected maximum points over Dedza Dynamos, Rumphi United and Sable Farming.